KINGS (25-9-4) at PREDATORS (16-18-4)
TV: FOX Sports Tennessee (Dish: 446/HD: 9516; Direct TV: 644/HD: 644-1 ; Comcast Nashville 1675; Comcast Chattanooga/Cleveland/Knoxville 401; Comcast Memphis 830; Charter Nashville 33/810; AT&T Nashville 724/1724)
Radio: Preds Radio Network Flagship - 102.5-FM The Game Radio Network; Network Affiliates
POWER PLAY CLICKS
Eight of Nashville’s last 15 goals have come on the man advantage, including power play tallies in six of the team’s last seven games. The Preds power play remains one of the League’s most potent (seventh, 21.6 percent), while Nashville’s home power play ranks among the League’s top five (fourth, 25 percent). The Preds are now 13-3-2 when they score a power-play goal. Shea Weber leads the team with 13 points (7g-6a) on the man advantage this season.
The Preds finish up the fifth of 14 sets of back-to-backs in 2013-14 on Saturday night against Los Angeles, after losing 4-1 on Friday night in Dallas. Nashville’s 14 sets of two-games-in-two-nights are five more than a season ago; the Preds are 2-3-0 in the opening game and 2-2-0 on the back end of back-to-back tilts this season. The Preds will play one game at home and one on the road (or vice versa) seven times in 2013-14, they’ll play two road games in two days six times and on one occasion they will hit the Bridgestone Arena ice on back-to-back days.
SMITH FINDS HIS GROOVE
Craig Smith has posted six points (4g-2a) in his last six games, and 13 points (7g-6a) in his last 16 outings, to move into a tie with Shea Weber for second in team scoring (10g-11a-21pts). Smith moved into Nashville’s goal-scoring lead on Monday with a two-goal performance against Boston, giving him two multi-goal games in his last four outings. The Madison, Wis., native owns three of Nashville’s five two-goal performances this season. Three of Smith’s last six goals have come on the power play. Nashville is 5-2-0 when Smith scores.
THE CAPTAIN STAYS SOLID
Shea Weber has tallied nine points (2g-7a) in his last nine games, after his six-game point streak (2g-6a-8pts) was snapped on Friday night in Dallas. Both of Weber’s goals during that span have come on the power play.
• Weber is tied with Craig Smith for second in team scoring (9g-12a-21pts).
• Five of Weber’s nine goals have come in the first period.
• Weber is tied with Zdeno Chara (BOS) for second in goals among blueliners (9). The Preds are 7-1-1 when their captain finds the back of the net.
• The Sicamous, B.C., native has posted 13 power-play points (7g-6a), good for fifth among League defensemen (tie), while his seven power-play goals pace all blueliners.
• Weber posted a regular-season career-high 32:23 of ice time on Friday night against Dallas, topping his previous high of 31:43 set earlier this season against Winnipeg (Oct. 24.) He has led Nashville in ice time in 20 of the last 29 games he’s played to rank fourth in the League in the category (26:37).
• Nashville’s captain leads the team and ranks 11th in the League in blocked shots (80), in addition to ranking second on the team in hits (83).
PLAYER QUICK HITS
• With his goal on Saturday night, Gabriel Bourque has posted 10 points (4g-6a) in the last 18 games he’s played – all since becoming a father for the first time on Nov. 12.
• Matt Cullen has 12 points (3g-9a) in his last 19 outings. Cullen also ranks among the League’s top faceoff men (56.8 percent), winning 260 of 457 draws.
• Mike Fisher leads all Preds forwards in ice time (18:52) – more than two minutes higher than the next closest forward (David Legwand, 16:29) – and blocked shots (29), while he ranks third in hits (61).
• With four points (2g-2a) in his last eight games, Paul Gaustad has moved within two points of hitting the 200-point plateau for his career. The Portland, Ore., native has won 375 of 632 faceoffs (59.3 percent), to rank second the League to in the category (minimum 600 draws).
• Seth Jones ranks second among all first-year players in average time on ice (21:09). The Plano, Texas native ranks among the League’s top 25 first-year players in points (3g-8a-11pts), assists, goals and shots (49), while ranking fourth in blocked shots (58) and power-play points (6), and seventh in power-play goals (2) among rookies.
• Roman Josi has six points (2g-4a) in his last nine games. The Bern, Switzerland native has led the team in ice time in five of the last nine games, and ranks second on the team and among the League’s top 15 defensemen in the category (25:21).
• David Legwand has five points (1g-4a) in his last eight games, and 18 points (5g-13a) in his last 26 outings to lead the team with 25 points (6g-19a) in 38 games. Fifteen (5g-10a) of Legwand’s 25 points have come away from the Music City.
• Eric Nystrom is one goal shy of matching his output from last season (7g in 48gp). Nystrom leads the team in hits and ranks among the League’s Top 30 forwards in the category (88).
TEAM QUICK HITS
• Nashville has outscored its opposition 8-5 in the second period over the past seven games.
• Nashville is 16-5-3 when scoring more than one goal, and 14-0-2 when scoring three or more goals.
• Seven of Nashville’s 16 wins this season have come by one goal – the team is 7-0-4 in one-goal games.
• The Predators are 13-1-2 when they score first.
• Nashville’s penalty kill ranks among the League’s top 15 (13th, 82.3) after allowing just nine goals in its last 58 times shorthanded (19 games). Nashville’s road penalty kill ranks among the League’s best (eighth; 85.2 percent).
• The Preds have not allowed a shorthanded goal since March 21, 2013, when Calgary scored two shorthanded goals – a span of 54 games. Nashville is the only team in the League not to have allowed a shorthanded goal this season.
• Nashville ranks second in the League behind only Los Angeles in team faceoff win percentage this season (54 percent). The Preds have been better than 50 percent in the faceoff circle in 30 of their 38 games.
LAST TIME OUT: Nashville 1, Dallas 4 at American Airlines Center
• Kevin Klein tallied his first goal of the season at 7:14 of the second period. It was Klein’s first marker since April 4 against Columbus.
• Colin Wilson and Ryan Ellis picked up assists on the goal. It was Wilson’s second point (2a) in his last five games – with both points coming against the Stars. Ellis has points in back-to-back games (2a) and three points (3a) in his last four games.
• Roman Josi led all skaters with a career-high 32:35 of ice time – besting his previous career high of 32:26 on Nov. 30 against Philadelphia.
• Shea Weber led all skaters with six blocked shots on the night.
• Nashville put at least 30 shots on goal for the fourth consecutive game, and exactly 34 shots on goal for the third straight outing. Half of Nashville’s 18 skaters posted multiple shots on goal, led by Mike Fisher, who paced all skaters and tied his season high with seven shots on goal.
STORYLINES VS. LOS ANGELES
Nashville and Los Angeles meet for the final time in 2013-14 on Saturday night in the Music City. The Preds have won 12 of 21 games against the Kings since the beginning of the 2008-09 season (12-8-1). The Kings are the only Western Conference team that the Predators have a winning record against on the road (15-11-3), but a losing record against at home (10-14-4).
The Preds only visit to Staples Center in 2013-14 came on Nov. 2 during the franchise-record 17-day road trip, as the Preds jumped out to an early 3-1 lead after the first 28 minutes of play on goals from David Legwand, Shea Weber and Eric Nystrom. The Kings would storm back in the final frame, scoring twice in a minute-and-a-half span to even the score before David Legwand banged home a Mattias Ekholm shot with less than four minutes remaining to seal the 4-3 win for Nashville.
These teams last met at Bridgestone Arena on Oct. 17 in a 2-1 shootout win for the Kings. Matt Cullen and Slava Voynov tallied in the first period, but the score remained tied through the end of regulation and overtime, so the post-overtime tiebreaker was required for the second time in four games between these two foes. Anze Kopitar converted the final attempt of the shootout to secure the win for the Kings.
Gabriel Bourque has five points (2g-3a) in seven career games against the Kings… Patric Hornqvist posted three assists in the last meeting, giving him 13 points (7g-6a) in 17 career games against L.A.… Rich Clune was claimed on waivers from Los Angeles on Jan. 15, 2013. During the 2009-10 campaign, he played his first 14 NHL regular season games (0g-2a, 26 PIM) – and four playoff contests (0g-0a, 5 PIM) – with the Kings, and was with the organization from 2006-13.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS VS. LOS ANGELES
• Patric Hornqvist recorded his most recent multi-goal game against the Kings on March 6, 2012.
• David Legwand converted his most recent penalty shot attempt vs. L.A. on Dec. 23, 2006 (Dan Cloutier).
• Viktor Stalberg attempted his most recent penalty shot against Jonathan Quick on March 11, 2012 at Staples Center (with the Blackhawks).
15TH ANNIVERSARY MOMENT
February 1, 2001: Preds roar back from three-goal deficit to beat L.A., 6-4
A night after shutting out the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in their building, the Nashville Predators put on an show at the other end of the ice, rallying from a three-goal to defeat the Los Angeles Kings, 6-4.
Bill Houlder kick-started the rally at 14:24 of the second period, and Greg Johnson provided the game winner at 14:11 of the third frame after goals from Rob Valicevic and Greg Classen in the first seven minutes of the period. Captain Tom Fitzgerald pitched in an empty netter with just 30 seconds remaining.
"We just tried to stay with our game plan,” Johnson said. “We really feel confident against this team if we play solid defensively and keep plugging away, because we're going to get our chances. The 5-on-3 goal by Valicevic to get us within one was huge," Johnson said.
The comeback victory not only extended a three-game unbeaten streak against the Kings, but continued an eventual four-game winning streak that also included wins at Phoenix and against Columbus at Bridgestone Arena.
"We weren't really on our toes in the first five minutes of the second period," Fitzgerald said. "But it was a grit game and a character builder for us as an organization -- to come back from 4-1 against a team like that."
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